Integrating Counselling with Bach’s Remedies – Part II

Within the Bach’s system, counselling is absolutely necessary as a prescribing method, in order to accurately “diagnose” the emotions that are being experienced by the client at the time when he asks for the practitioner’s help. As a matter of fact, there is no mechanic or intuitive process within the Bach’s system.

At the end of the 1960’s Philip M. Chancellor, before publishing his book on the Bach Flower Remedies, asked Nora Weeks – Dr Edward Bach’s closest collaborator – to briefly tell about the method and the procedure that she, together with Victor Bullen and many other Bach practitioners were using when interviewing their clients before prescribing the most suitable remedies for them. She then wrote a letter stating that actually there was no standard list of questions for prescribing the remedies, because each client must be treated individually and differently from any other. She continued by stating that therefore, each individual person had to be addressed to “in a way commesurate with his understanding, his background and his general attitude towards life”. The most important thing was to “put the patient at his ease; to make him feel that you are his friend and that you sincerely want to help him. Make him feel secure in the fact that he can talk with you about himself in absolute confidence. It is only by talking about himself, without reserve, that you will be able to help him by prescribing the correct Remedy for his condition.”

Moreover, Nora Weeks used to remind that a good practitioner – or physician – is also a good listener. “Cultivate this habit and let the patient talk, but be sure to listen attentively!” she used to say. One may start interviewing him by saying for instance: “Since you may not know very much about the Bach Flower Remedies, please tell me first about your physical difficulties, and then I will ask you a few questions about yourself”. In this way, that is by talking about his physical symptoms, the client will reveal a lot about himself, and these are the information that practitioners want to know. The client might say, “all unwittingly, that he is afraid the complaint will worsen (MIMULUS), or that he has lost hope of ever becoming cured (GORSE). He might say ‘I get so impatient or so tense that my work is affected (IMPATIENS)’. Indirectly, a patient might remark that he is really resentful about this or that person or condition (WILLOW).” All these sentences might seem casual, but instead they are of great importance to the practitioners, especially because they are spontaneous. Nora Weeks continues by stressing how important it is the way the client speaks. “How does he talk? Does he talk hurriedly or nervously, or slowly and hesitatingly? Does he speak with great determination, or with the voice of authority; does he whisper with the insecurity of uncertainty and fear?”

Also the client’s facial expression must be studied well, because “it reflects his emotions. Is it an expression of worry, or does he frown or blush? Is his smile genuine, or is it forced to cover some deep sorrow or distress?” The client’s movements need to be observed. “Does he sit calmly, or does he fidget with his hands or feet; does he shift his position restlessly in the chair?”

The rule is therefore to listen quietly and observe attentively the client while he speaks. It is possible to ask questions, but without ever interrupting him while he is talking. One may ask: “How long have you had this trouble? Was there some physical or emotional shock connected with it (STAR OF BETHLEHEM)? Was there a disappointment? Is there still a worry connected with the trouble which weighs upon your mind (WHITE CHESTNUT)?” The age and the general situation of the client must be taken into consideration, “whether he is married, widowed or single, etc.; does he dwell in the past (HONEYSUCKLE)?”

Nora Weeks also reminds that Dr Edward Bach himself used to give advice on how to carry out interviews with clients. He thought one should tell the client to think and concentrate on his positive qualities. According to Nora Weeks, one should always let the client know that he is not alone in this world to have a problem similar to his, and one should sincerely assure him “that his difficulties are only temporary, and that his fears are manifesting because he is developing the great courage which is already within him, for fear, after all, is simply a test of courage.” Moreover, one should tell him that “he does have an understanding and a tolerance of others, that his genuine feeling is only overlaid temporarily by impatience and irritability.” Again, he must be assured that he is not the only one to feel the emotions he is feeling, “and that the very emotions which are the most troublesome to him can be wholly eliminated.”

After having told how an interview of a Bach Flower practitioner should be carried out, Nora Weeks stresses the fact that the client’s interview alone is extremely important in order to help him overcome his problem. Moreover, it also creates a “foundation of confidence” in the practitioner as well as in the Bach Flower Remedies as a healing method. Lastly, Nora Weeks wishes that the client would leave the practitioner’s studio feeling better than when he entered: this is the main rule in the practice.

Annunci

Integrating Counselling with Bach’s Remedies – PART I

Both Counselling and the Bach System have the same common objective of solving the client’s stress by the awareness of the causes that have produced it. Evidence is that self-healing is slow, and that a boost in the client’s immunity system comes spontaneously.

The methods used in Counselling and in the Bach System differ in that the former consists in a series of interviews with the client, whereas the latter consists in a first in-depth interview aiming at prescribing the Flower Remedies which are found most appropriate for the emotional states that the client is living at the moment of the interview, and another follow-up.

Therefore, in comparing a Counsellor to a Bach Flower Practitioner, the latter has one further tool, and during the courses at the Edward Bach Foundation modern Counselling techniques (from Carl Rogers’ Client-Centered Therapy to Eric Berne’s transational analysis and Stephen Karpman’s dramatic triangle) are all studied as part of the system’s knowledge.

Through my personal experience, during consultations with my clients, I had the chance to verify the efficaciousness of integrating modern Counseling with the Bach Remedies, and I wish this method could be used by those who are interested in true and effective consultations.